Welp, here we go again.
Kevin Harvick’s dominating Las Vegas win was ruled encumbered on Wednesday. Technically it wasn’t “encumbered” because NASCAR got rid of that term in the offseason — but the result is the same.
The No. 4 car’s rear window was not rigid at all times, as the rulebook states it must be, and the rocker arm panel extension was the wrong kind of metal (it is supposed to be aluminum).
So Harvick lost all seven playoff points he earned at Vegas. On top of that, the team also lost car chief Cheddar Smith for two races, Rodney Childers lost $50,000 from his wallet and Harvick lost 20 points in the standings.
That’s a lot of losing, but the team kept the win. NASCAR tradition, right? That’s what they say, anyway. So SHR will cash the check and display the trophy alongside all the others, and Harvick will go down as the winner in the history books.
When I asked readers about this last September, most agreed.
Poll: Should NASCAR take the win away if the car is found to be illegal?
— Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) September 6, 2017
But I’m not going down that road this time, for a couple reasons.
First, diving back into the same argument over and over is just…exhausting. Second, this instance seems a little different than some of the others.
Harvick’s car has been so fast over the last couple races, it seems hard to believe a dented rear window could have contributed that much speed. Did it help? Probably. Was it the reason he won? Admittedly I have a lack of technical knowledge here, but I would argue no.
Same goes for the rocker arm panel extension. Was having it made out of steel instead of aluminum why Harvick won? Seems highly unlikely.
Still, for the sake of being consistent with my own stance (illegal cars should not win!), I guess NASCAR should probably have taken the victory away.
But…ugh. I just can’t get fired up about this one. In this case, stripping the win would have felt like sending someone to jail for a broken tail light.
I suppose NASCAR had to do something, and the something is better than nothing, but maybe it should come down to either doing nothing or taking away everything.
Otherwise, it feels half-assed, and I’m not sure how outraged we’re all supposed to be here.
Sigh. I’ve come to really hate weeks like these.